This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) prohibiting federal funds from being used to establish health insurance “exchanges” where uninsured Americans could purchase health insurance. This amendment was offered to a continuing resolution funding the federal government through September 2011, and cutting $61 billion in federal funding for many government programs.
Under major health care health care legislation signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, the federal government was scheduled to establish health insurance exchanges in 2014. This amendment withheld federal funding for that provision of the health care law.
Gardner urged support for his amendment: “ The exchange does not allow the American people to choose the benefits in their health plans. Instead, it will force the American people into a one-size-fits-all program where government bureaucrats limit their health insurance options. The government will control which plans are allowed to be offered in each State. It will control which companies will be allowed to sell health insurance plans in each State and will control the benefits contained in those health insurance plans.”
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) opposed the amendment: “Now, the exchange does three things. It says that small businesses and families and individuals can get the same purchasing power that big corporations do when they buy their health insurance. It says you can choose among private competitors, insurance companies, and see who makes the best offer to you. And it says you make the choice that you want. This should sound very familiar to the members on the other [Republican] side because it's exactly what they have as members of Congress…So I would think that the members on both sides would want their constituents to have the same health care opportunities that they do. If you believe that's the case, then the right vote on this amendment is `no.'
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 241-184. Voting “yea” were 236 Republicans and 5 Democrats. 183 Democrats and 1 Republican voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment prohibiting funds provided by a continuing resolution from being used to establish health insurance exchanges where uninsured Americans could purchase health insurance.